Ruggernut's Ramblings

Posted in B.C. Rugby / CW Rugby / Girls Rugby / News

Ruggernut's Ramblings

Today's main news segues nicely into some musings that have been spinning around for some time after watching the meteoric growth of CW Girl's Rugby.  "It's summer time and the living is easy" but the rugby calendar is still busy - PRC's; CRC's; Summer Games; World Games; Nations Cups, Nats, visiting teams, etc.  The emphasis is on age grade, youth boys and girls rugby.  Women's rugby has certainly owned the summer podium. 


This brings me to an observation regarding the development and growth of female rugby.  The senior women's funding is supported by OTP funding, a source that is contingent on results, results which have been outstanding internationally at both the Sevens and Fifteens level and more recently at the U20 level.  It is with great interest that one can analyze the source of players.  Women's RWC VII's - ON 3; QU 3; MT 1; PEI 1; BC 1.  U20 (undefeated Nations Cup winner), ON 18; ALTA 5; BC 3.  Women's World Universiad Games - ON 6; BC 3; AB 1; QU 1.  There has been a rapid rise of the game since the last XV's RWC (2010), that data from that team is not really applicable to these more recent results, although the current senior women's side at the Nations Cup is represented by ON 12; QU 6; BC 4; ALTA 2 and SK 1.

B.C. clubs have a couple of outstanding programs at the senior women's level - Burnaby, Velox, United and S.F.U.  At the First Div. level I would include Kamloops, Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Lomas and Cowichan.  At a Tier II level, one could include Ridge Meadows, United, Comox, Burnaby, SFU & Lomas. these teams being based on BCRU Premiership, Division One and Division Two results from the past season.  Development at the club level for women's adult teams seems to stop here.  Burnaby, United, SFU and Lomas having two teams, a few of the other clubs mustering a side for the occasional game and clubs such as Kamloops, Nanaimo and Comox only having the feasability of one team.

Where do these women players come from?  It is interesting to see the growth of the women's game in Victoria High Schools this past season and this is the only region this writer can comment on with any authority.  Between 120 and 140 girls participated in a girl's league, coming from eight different schools and two high schools had two teams.  Some of these girls have been selected for the B.C. U16 teams and one for the U18 team for the upcoming Nationals.  Some of the clubs such as Abbotsford, Cowichan, Bayside, Capilanos and CW have done an execellent job to develop girl's youth programs.  Development of girl's youth is not as entrenched as boy's youth and it seems that it has become very easy, with the goal of expanding women's senior rugby at the club level, to overlook essential LTAD parameters.  The LTAD model is derived from extensive studies that have produced parameters for Canadian sports that befit appropriate child and youth athletic development and ultimate benefit to the sport at the adult level.

The following quotes are taken from the BCRU Youth Manual.  Laws of the Game (Gr 9 & 10) #18 - "No players are allowed to play in older age group teams."  From the Good Coach's Code - "Appreciate the needs of the players before the needs of the sport" & "Provide experiences which are matched to the young player's age and ability, as well as their physical and mental development".  From the Good Parent's Code - "Be realistic about the young player's ability; do not push them towards a level they are not capable of achieving."  To summarize, I quote from the BC Age Grade Integrity Policy, "BC rugby is committed to preserving age-grade integrity in all of our Youth Rugby Programs, to ensure the safety of our players, and not to have too great a discrepancy in size and maturation of age grade participants."  "BC Rugby does not recommend that  players be encouraged to play out of their correct age group under any circumstances.  However, exceptional players ONE BIRTH YEAR ONLY below the age band may play in the next higher age band if........"

It would be a great pity to place parochial club successes ahead of player development by recruiting younger players to "play up", a trend which is not common but recognizable in some instances.  Youth development should not be the immediate source of adult players.  Let us hope the development of the women's game is such that the base broadens and Canada remains foremost in world rankings.